When it comes to building an online course business, choosing the right platform can make all the difference in your success. Two of the most popular options for course creators are Thinkific and MemberPress, each offering a unique set of features and benefits. While both platforms allow users to create and sell online courses, they have different approaches to course creation and management.
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive comparison of Thinkific vs MemberPress, breaking down their features, pricing, and ease of use, to help you determine which platform is the best fit for your specific needs. Whether you’re a first-time course creator or an experienced educator, our guide will help you make an informed decision and get your online course business up and running.
Here is a video review by SoftwarePundit for those who like a visual experience. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Thinkific vs Memberpress
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. Learning Management System (LMS), creates, promotes and sells your online courses.
Thinkific was founded in 2012 by a group entrepreneurs who wanted to create an environment that would allow students and instructors to learn and teach.
Luckily, they were able to find an effective solution to their dilemma. Thinkific was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific also did it easily, as even those without technical knowledge could use the platform.
This ease of use makes Thinkific essential for online course creators. This allows the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. We will examine these features later to see if the promises are true.
Enjoy the Thinkific Benefits
Thinkific isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. Many LMS and CMS can do the same job as Thinkific. We would be remiss if this were not mentioned.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. So when it comes to sales, Thinkific makes sure that whatever is yours is absolutely yours
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. While you are limited to 3 courses upload, you can host unlimited core content and have unlimited students.
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific also allows multiple kinds of content, from video files, audio files, PDFs, quizzes, text, surveys, and more.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various capabilities. The platform allows you to organize cohorts, schedule your content, and deliver them by drip-feed, locking them through prerequisite lessons and many others.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
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As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web site builder
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types of services. Course makers need to market their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Similar to Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay you.
For content creation, analytics is the name of the game. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and weaknesses? Thinkific offers this feature to its users to make it easy for their users as to the direction their content should go.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. It is also a great way to brand your company and increase engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. These features are a great way to get it done at Thinkific.
- Tools to train the trainer
Although we are in the business selling knowledge, it’s a good idea to have our own. Selling and course building are two different things. Many people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App store
The Thinkific App store sells apps and programs that take your online courses to another level. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. As such, it is an excellent place where fellow content and course creators get together and discuss things along with Thinkific developers.
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The Thinkific Course Builder: Is it Good?
The only way to determine the quality of a course builder’s service is to actually test it.
A course builder service will only be as good as its main builder. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
Thinkific offers a “Get Started” checklist to help you get started with course building.
Create Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
Content types can be either of the following:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Pick the Course Type
You can choose the course that Thinkific is currently building. For some of the choices, the service provides you with pre-formatted and good-looking templates that are structured for the appropriate course content.
Although you can still be flexible by using a template blank, they can be very helpful when you need to do your job quickly or are just starting to create courses.
These premade courses include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These courses can serve as short tests or as a way to get your course noticed. This allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Thinkific vs Memberpress
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
Your Students’ Course Design
Your students will be able to consume your learning resources in the Course Player. You can change the appearance of the course player in the “Settings tab” on the “Courses” page. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding logos.
You can even add a course description and image in the settings here.
You can also preview your lessons in this section. This is convenient since you can see how your students view your lessons. This allows you to see the problem through their eyes.
You can assign assignments and track progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. You can also use it to rate your students. Thinkific vs Memberpress
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. They will give you enough guidance, especially if you’re just starting out with your course.
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How to build an online course website
The course builder can be considered the core of Thinkific. However, it is the Site Builder that provides the foundation on which your courses can be built.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
The website builder is easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
All in all, these websites have good and professional designs.
2. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. If you want, you can dig in and craft individual pages.
Site builders use drag-and-drop tools that make it simple to create a website from scratch. Combining this with pre-built themes, users can make a professional-looking web page from scratch.
This is only the beginning. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely from Scratch.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages can be easily mapped to create a course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. Some pages of note include:
- Home Page: The face of your website. The place where the most important things should be located
- These pages can be used as landing pages to help students approach courses. If you want, you can also make a course page that serves as a landing page for all the courses you offer in your “class”
- Sign-up pages are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Thinkific vs Memberpress
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- Coming Soon pages: These pages may look empty, but they can serve as teasers and previews for any upcoming pages, courses, offers, and even bundles you offer.
Of course, these types of pages are just some examples you can use with the website. These templates are also a good utility for making a website and needing it fast. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Thinkific vs Memberpress
You can also create a customized page by clicking on the Custom Page link in the menus. This will allow you to design your page according to your requirements.
4. Edit individual pages
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can easily be modified and moved around.
The provided pre-built pages even come with suggested sections to easily allow you to pick which ones you need for your page. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is an essential part, especially when you aim to sell. This lets your would-be students and customers know how to sign up or buy.
- ‘Smart’ Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Thinkific vs Memberpress
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These sections help you promote other courses. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
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You can earn profit through your content by using your online course platform
Now we come to what is known as among the most anticipated parts of the review. What is the Thnkific business side? Is the service providing enough tools and resources to enable users to make a living from their hard work?
It is a fact that all online course builders and platforms today offer tools to allow teachers and students to promote their courses. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some platforms are more focused on the conversion side of selling courses and creating content. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
Thinkific comes with marketing tools to help you make money from your content. Even users who are utilizing the free plan can try these features, albeit they only have access to the most basic of functions and are pretty limited in their scope.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific provides free plan users with the needed SEO options, which allows you to promote your lessons in the most basic ways by making your content capable of climbing up the top of the search engine results.
Free users also have the option to create free trial courses. Think of it as giving your potential customers a free sample or a taste test. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Thinkific vs Memberpress
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
We are not talking about the stuff that is free. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons need no introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
Thinkific’s coupon codes are digital codes that can be shared easily. These codes can be used in Thinkific’s ecosystem very well. You can use a coupon at Thinkific’s checkout to instantly redeem it.
Coupons can be used to promote bundles or courses from a marketing perspective. This will entice potential customers to check out your courses, especially if a discount is included.
As a side note, Thinkific allows you to customize your coupons. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
Sales widgets are a feature that allows you to post purchasing links to other websites and social media. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an audience. Even if your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
That’s where social media comes in. It is a given that almost everybody uses social media. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
The easiest way to do this is through sales widgets which generate HTML code that can easily be pasted on existing websites. This includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Thinkific vs Memberpress
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email Marketing tools manage newsletters and send out targeted promotions to subscribers. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep them. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
Thinkific’s email marketing tools are limited to this ……… Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. You can also notify them about new products and courses.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
If you think your own marketing skills are insufficient, then you can opt to go the Affiliate marketing route and get experts and influencers to promote your courses.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. The steps include adding the affiliated person as a user and making him an “Affiliate” which you can find under “User Roles” in the Process.
You can also convert Thinkfiic users into affiliates by finding them through the same process.
Thinkific tracks the sales of bundles or courses by affiliates to check their performance and status. It also records the revenue. Thinkific vs Memberpress
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
If you don’t have a way to receive payments or enroll in your courses, all that marketing effort will go sour. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. This allows you to access all of the eCommerce platform’s tools.
Thinkific’s payment options allow you to customize how you price your products. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. However, this feature is not available to me at the moment as I only have a handful of courses created with their system.
Thinkific is unique in that you don’t have to pay a commission for any courses they sell.
Reporting and Analytics
Any good website that is selling something should include a Reports and Analytics feature. This feature will help users identify which areas they excel at and which ones they should focus on to improve.
Though it’s a new feature, Thinkific does have one. It currently reports only on four areas, which are: Enrollments and Student Engagement, Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement. This feature is currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
From there you can find out the problems as to why such things are. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Thinkific vs Memberpress
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. It could be an issue with how you present the information. Once you find the problem, you can then find an applicable solution without tearing your hair out.
This data is then shown as a chart and graph that makes it a lot easier to read and understand.
Prices and plans that are thought-provoking
Thinkific is a leading platform for course development and marketing. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their standing.
Thinkfiic is a product that you pay for. With all its features, you won’t be ripped off.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. You can always start your course-creating journey for free before moving to a paid plan if you need it or want more of Thinkific’s features.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. It is the best way to get a feel of the service and to test drive what it is capable of. The free plan allows you to do everything the service offers, albeit at a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. To make more courses, you will need to sign up. This course is full of potential and you can enroll as many students as you wish.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to make unlimited courses.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. You can even live-stream your lessons for as long as you have the time.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives you access to the Thinkific app store.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host your course website.
The Grow Plan
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. The first benefit you get is removing the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
This allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. You have priority email support and phone support. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Thinkific vs Memberpress
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. This plan allows you to streamline your workflow and provide a premium experience using a platform that can scale.
This plan is ideal for large institutions that want to establish an online presence. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
LMS services offer clients and customers the option to create custom plans that are separate from their basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
For Thinkific, this is called Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
To get Thinkific Plus, you must contact the Thinkfic sales team. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They can connect you with education experts who will inspire you and give you the confidence you need to achieve more than you could ever imagine.
Thinkific Plus will give you all the features from the Expand plans while also adding in these features:
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email White-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It includes all core features and functions like a paid plan. Although there are no limitations, if you are serious enough, you can start selling courses through the services with no upfront monetary investment. Thinkific vs Memberpress
- Thinkkific’s drag and drop builder is easy to use by even non-tech-savvy users. It even allows you to upload multiple types of media content to create varied and interesting courses and lessons.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- The service lacks many marketing features. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- The customization options and designs available through Thinkific are very limited. There are only a handful of themes that you can choose from. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
Thinkific is an excellent choice for course promotion and course creation. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
For those who are just starting out, the free startup plan will be a great help. It will allow them to get a feel for how things work. Thinkific vs Memberpress
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. It is unlike the other “free plans” of the other products where they only masquerade as free, but there isn’t you can do with the service.
Thinkific’s Course Builder is very intuitive and easy to use. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are what. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
This is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
However, it is important to remember that Thinkific might be too easy for some users. This is just my nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also simple. It’s not a standalone platform. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. With a little creative touch, you can sell your products and courses. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific vs Memberpress
Is it possible to create a complete website with just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic allows you to create your entire online education company. You can easily create courses, websites, and your entire brand on one platform. Thinkific offers builders that can be used to build, market, and sell online courses.
I Want to Allow my Students Access to my Course Content while Offline; How Do I Do that?
It is up to you.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to your courses offline. You can make your courses downloadable. You can do this on content such as video files, audio files, and PDFs. These files can be downloaded to students’ devices so they can access them offline.
Who Owns the Content Published on Thinkific?
The creators are the complete and sole owners of any content that is built into the Thinkific Platform.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.